Hope Springs Eternal

“Hope springs eternal”

When I sit up late at night like I am doing right now, tired, by myself staring at this brightly lit computer screen, thinking of what to write so I can become famous…nothing comes to my mind. Nothing worth writing about at least. I have many thoughts, ideas, and stories I could write on this blog and feel good about it like “You are one hell of a clever chap all right!” Fuck all that.

I want to write shit that makes people nod their heads in understanding, or in sympathy, or feel it in their hearts that this? This is the truth and I want to read more of what this guy has to say because the words spoken have a certain power that reaches beyond the superficial mask of self and deep into the soul.

Stories of Hope?

How can I reach someone with a story of hope? What can I write to inspire, to motivate, to hold someone’s heart in my hand and carry it out of whatever darkness is surrounding them?

The truth is all I have is my experience. Within my experience is one vital, concrete, foundational practice that I have found to work in even the most dire and sincerely scary moments of our lives when it seems the very gates of hell are being shut on us.

Think of a time in your life, and it shouldn’t be hard to remember it, that time when you were all alone in a place that nobody could reach you. This could have been a prison cell or in your own house surrounded by family, and I am talking about falling into a dark place not even your closest loved ones could bring you back from.

I have known a few people who found themselves in this proverbial place of blind, deaf, dumb, numb, and completely delusional mind states. The blind mind state cannot see the truth right in front of them. Deaf mind state does not heed the warnings of danger or ominous foreshadowing of death or destruction because it cannot hear. Dumb is the mind that makes those decisions which lead the person into pain and misery. Numb is the mind state that is not a state anymore, just a mess…a noisy, wild, crazy mess hidden underneath  a sheet of ice.

The delusional mind state is the worst and encompasses all of these defects in a circle of insanity. The people I knew loved life, and lived it in a different way but it was full of something, everything, and on the surface it looked beautiful. But somewhere along the line something snapped, a wire burned out and caused the system to shut down, short-circuited, haywire.

It happened to me, it happened to my sister, it happened to someone I loved perhaps the first person I ever felt love for…Summer.

Hope. Is it just a four letter word that makes people feel better or is it a power beneath the surface of this life pushing and pulling matter forward and backward and sideways along the pathway of forward progress?

Why do some people embrace the word by continuing to live? Why do some people not see it and choose to use their hands as weapons on themselves? What went wrong? Why? What drove them to that point of no return where no human power could save them?

That is it right there. No human power. The truth. The spiritual part.

Doctors, pills, blood tests, psychiatrists, asylums…is there hope in these things? Hope springs for a little while, but not eternal.

No, hope is much bigger than a pill or a psych doctor. If hope were a pill it would be made in meetings, in love, in spirit, in truth, in help from strangers, from the heart…not a pharma factory or a script pad…no, from something more than human power.

I am a story of hope. You are a story of hope. Anyone who is still alive and living each day as it comes, especially after going through trauma, evil, and death around them. God is love and the love in me recognizes the love in you. I love you. Without you I could not exist, I am here today as a true testament to the power of love. It is because somebody loved me I am still breathing.

If I do anything in life, it is to honor those who did not make it to toforce_of_nature_04day. Who decided to give up today. Who did not have any hope, who couldn’t see the sunshine outside only darkness and pain and a quick solution to end it.

People might blame God for such horrible tragedies, but I blame no one. We all have a will and a mind that can make decisions, and if we decide to do something bad it is our choice not God pulling the puppet strings.

One story is one life, a life I used to cherish and think about all the time and want to make better with me in it…did God let her take all of her klonapin and close her eyes permanently? Did he make her do it? She was just like you or me. Full of life, hope for a bright future, a laugh that lit up the room with love…no God wasn’t there because she shut the door on God, her mother, her friends, her loved ones that had God in them and wanted to help. She shut God out of that room, that lonely, dark, cold room that offered her the comfort of a warm bed and a pill bottle.

Story of hope?

We are all stories of hope. It is not just a word or a force. No it is who were are. It is life.

Change From Within

Kindness

Man is a mental being, and to know this is the first step on the road to freedom and prosperity, for as long as you believe yourself to be primarily physical, a superior kind of animal, you will remain in bondage – in bondage, that is to say, to your own habits of thought, for there is no other bondage.

Since you are a mental being, you will see how foolish it is for you to endeavor to improve your conditions by altering your environment while leaving your mind unchanged. To attempt this is to foredoom yourself to disappointment. Mind is cause, and experience is effect. If you do not like the experience or effect that you are getting, the obvious remedy is to alter the cause and then the effect will naturally alter too.

– Emmet Fox

Thou blind pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also  (Matthew 23:26)
 
There will be another free distant energy healing for everyone who wants to join and all their friends, families and anyone else who reads this. The main healing session is SATURDAY FEBRUARY 22, 2014 from 6-7pm Pacific Standard Time or same as Los Angeles, (7-8pm MST), (8-9 CST), (9-10pm EST-same as New York).

You can join this free distant energy healing session by using your intention to be included. If you wish to join, just close your eyes for a minute when you read this and mentally say that you intend to join the session and want to be included. That is all you have to do to connect with the energy and you don’t have to do anything else. Healing energy can begin to flow to you once you do this as many people who have done this before have reported.

You join simply by using your intention after reading this.

The energy works on many levels, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Even though it’s a group healing, the energy works with everyone individually. The energy is intelligent and knows best how to work with your energy system. The energy infuses light and energy into your energy field and can help clear and balance the acupuncture meridians, chakras and other energy channels. The energy won’t weaken with a large group and can even get stronger with more people. Distance isn’t a problem and you can receive this energy anywhere in the world.

To receive the energy you just sit or lie down and relax on FEBRUARY 22 from 6-7 PM Pacific Time-same as Los Angeles (PST) or 9-10pm New York Time (EST) and receive the energy. Even if you have to be active during the session you can still receive great results.

Many spiritual traditions teach that we are all connected and now some Quantum Physicists are saying the same thing. These ancient teachings often mention the most important thing we can do is help others. When we help others we are also helping ourselves because we are all connected…

And So It Goes…Healing from Within

Before and After: A Survivor’s Tale of PTSD

by Sam Allen

We’ve got something, we both know it. We don’t talk too much about it.

~ Tom Petty, Refugee

Make it clear that I’m in Stockton at this time, at the beginning of the story.

Make it clear when I’m talking about Portland and Stockton.

I’ve told this tale a thousand times.

I have choppy red hair like a boy. It’s slicked down on the front and I’m sporting sideburns. I’m

also wearing a blue gilt scarf, blue jeans, and a black t-shirt reading something sarcastic. I am

a boi. A noble creature not normally found on the busses of medium-sized American towns.

Stockton, California.

I am high on Coyote Grace, a group with Joe Stevens, a transguy who sings beautiful folk

songs about the times before, times when he was forcing himself to live as a girl. He cried,

and he’s a boy now, thanks to T, testosterone, his wife Ingrid, and a lot of soul-searching. My

earbuds are plugged in as Joe sings, “I’m just a ghost boy walkin’ through.”

Outside my head, a guy is pointing at me and waving his arms wildly. “Freak!” “Get off the bus!

“He has dark skin and long hair like an American Indian dude, and the bus driver hasn’t left the

station. She’s trying to make him calm down. Because he, loosely put, doesn’t accept me.

Two girls, one in camo pants and a pink shirt, give him the what for. “If he’s going to be a

boy, then it’s none of your business. Let him be a boy!” I’m not saying anything because this

is normal for me. In fact, my memory of Joe’s voice is more vivid than the interrogation I’m

describing.

The guy finally gets off the bus. “The next time I see you,” he makes the sign of cutting a throat.

I just look.

I know that it’s a sign. I do things to provoke people, like wearing a fagggyboy scarf. It’s in my

nature.

A nature that could be easily cut short if I don’t get out of here.

So I go. I think myself an exile, a refugee. I lug a 70-pound wheel-less black suitcase a long

mile to the Greyhound station, say goodbye to my best friend, and go.

Home. To Portland.

Home of the bois, the boifags, and the queers.

Somewhere where I can look, listen, and feel without being threatened or experiencing pain.

My hometown, soon to be adopted. Or at least I thought it was.

I’m there.

I breathe in air and take lots of pictures. Use the phrase ‘my’ copiously. My room, my door, my

cityscape from my (derlilict and drifter hotel) room.

La Roux belts it out at the gay bar below me. “This time, baby, I’ll be…….bulllllletprooooooof.”

I find it sad that gay men have to live such hard lives, even in the city. Who are they making

themselves bulletproof against?

I would soon find out.

Because I’m omitting something. I have leaky bladder syndrome.

At the shelter I stay at while getting my bearings for the day, someone asks, “Why does it smell

like piss?”

Because I leaked during the night, on the long ride to Oregon. Showers don’t start for another

half an hour.

And those long-ass bus and light rail (MAX) rides through town. I was lucky I was wearing

protective stuff.

But to my chagrin, they didn’t help.

They helped make me who I am today, like it or not. But they didn’t help with my problem.

In fact, they helped so much that they gave me PTSD. Them and my cat. This is the part of my

story that I don’t tell so much.

It’s choppy, like my hair, because that’s how PTSD is. Episodes, memories seared into your

brain, washing over you at different times. The past and the present bleeding into one.

It’s the same with the emotions you experience when you’ve first got it. You try to make the

feelings go away, especially if you’re used to ‘going away’ in your own particular way anyway,

but they stay. And they come back to haunt you, just like the memories you want to forget.

Portland’s still easier to describe in the past tense.

This part of my story takes place after I get back ‘home’ to my town in the Central Valley of

California.

So be prepared for choppiness.

Because this is from After.

                                                                           But now talkin’ to God is Laurel beggin’ Hardy for a gun.

~ Josh Ritter, Girl in the War

What is PTSD to me? It’s something that I’ve had for a long time.

It’s shivering when I hear people fighting. It’s shoving out memories that I’m not ready to

grapple with. It’s hearing voices on BART, the light rail in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s me

not being able to go outside for two years without cleaning myself raw.

I hate PTSD.

I wish I could go to trans* events without every time expecting to be called out as a freak and a

dirty rat. Because there, of all places, I should have been able to feel comfortable. My people

– transgender folk, genderqueers, and others naturally embodying our fabulousness – disowned

me after I showed up there. Hissing. Laughing in the only way Oregonians can.

As IT happened.

A string of events that pushed me into daily survival mode and makes my memories bleed. A

mixture of nostalgia, guilt, and terror that plagues me when I least expect it.

I broke down crying when I saw an episode of The Walking Dead that had a man consigned to die

alone in the Centers for Diseasae Control. Not because it was sad, but because I felt the same

feeling of being trapped had imposed on himself.

Torture makes me cry now.

Violence triggers me, too.

My lips start quivering. My hands shake. I have trouble breathing. I shake out “no, no, no” with

my head and I try as hard as I can to not revisit the past. It’s like the that hell and the present

dissolving into one unbearable moment. A memory that kills me still….that I haven’t been able

to reconcile to myself yet.

I play Sara Bareielles’ song “Brave” when I’m feeling up, and revisit Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the

War” when I read the fable that I wrote about Portland, my apology in the form of a Prince who

mistreats his people, is cast out, and is vindicated by his good deeds.

Sadly, it’s not as simple as that. What I wrote aches of sorry that doesn’t belong to me, an

overwhelming guilt from a stage in recovery that I’m past now. It’s a fable that makes strangers

giggle and one that I’m ashamed to show to my friends, lest they worry.

So I submit articles that I wrote high on Adderall (prescription doses only, but boy did it make

me crazy) to Craigslist for things like this one and wonder if I’ll ever write as well again.

I liked my psychiatrist because he got me to smile.

I thought I belonged there. Portland.

It’s in my blood. The red cobblestone streets and the winding First Street that reminds me of

London with its curved windows on close-knit buildings.

Afterwards, while in Stockton, I yelled “BITCH!” at my 19-year-old niece from my mom’s room

when she saw that I had messed up her space. I heard people talking about me next door

and through the walls…..and still believe that people did talk about me through the walls.

Yelling, “Foul!” and “Nasty!” It was one of the most vivid auditory experiences of my life! How

could I not believe it?

I prepared to kill myself while making hamburgers after hearing people talk about me through

the walls. Add some beer and let it sizzle on the hot pan….mash it into the meat. Binge watch a

fashion show while mom’s at the casino. Block the thought out of my head.

Because what other option did I have?

I had lost my anonymity.

My cat. My fucking HIV-positive cat that pooped where he was supposed to and stank up my

thimble of an apartment. My cat that didn’t give a damn about cross-breezes. The poop whose

smell sank into my fleece jacket and my slicker. My own insistence on being up and happy until

they made me howl in that dank apartment. The cat that ran away two days before I phoned

Dad to come home. The cat that I couldn’t give away because he was my only friend.

One day, there was someone who actually said something nice on Portland’s light rail, the MAX.

“Look, she knows how to dress. All she really needs is a friend. We can be her friends.” That

touched me so deeply, but I was committed to being mute while in public, so my facade came

into play. I wriggled my eyebrows at the girls, grinned weirdly. The one who said it got scared

and walked away towards the exit, and I felt as numb as ever. I probably cried when I got home.

People glared at me everywhere…..because they knew who I was. I was that girl who smelled

like piss and shit on the MAX. I had glared back. Everybody knew me because the kids took

pictures of me and adults denounced me. Even here in Stockton.

Get hit by a train.

Close enough.

Disappear.

I didn’t because my mom found what I was up to by a series of direct and mature

questioning. “Are you planning to kill yourself now?” Like she had read a pamphlet about it. I

realized that I couldn’t do that to her, to my friends, my family.

“Am You Are Able to Donate?” Idiot. Just because I smell bad doesn’t mean that I can’t

talk. I mean, I can talk, but I won’t. I won’t let them see how stupid I am because it would

mean really giving up this time. So I stay stalwart and silent…have limpid inverted doe

eyes………………during the mock gang rape: announce, “there’s a party on the MAX tonight!

” surround me, pretend to hold down her head, go “Oh!” each time someone takes a pump,

follow me as I walk to the lower level. “She’s a partier, huh?!” “Ohhhh!” til I get off and scream

in horror and fury. I will never forget that. During the denunciation, during a guy saying, “I hope

she gets hit by a bus. I hope she gets hit by a bus.” Me saying “Fuck you” (I guess I did say

something) and staggering off the MAX, almost slipping on the icy platform.

I thought that the siege on Mouamar Khadaffi was akin to the siege on me: you know where he

is, eventually you’ll find him, just like you’ll find me.

I wish I could go to trans* events. The awesome trans* woman in our community doesn’t return

my facebook messages because I was kind of abrupt with her not because I didn’t like her but

because I was scared. I daydream about telling her. While peeing. Because pain and pee are

linked with me now. Feeling dirty. Vindicating myself. Dirty. Vindicating. Dirty.

Dirty usually wins out.

Or dissociation. Like playing Castleville on Facebook until the sun rises….and then crashing, so

tired that I can’t remember before I doze off.

Listening to a series of lectures on Persian history (no I’m not Persian but I my professor was)

way up into the night and then, again, crashing, with things to tell people.

If they cared.

Thinking that I could never really be comfortable the boi’s that I’ve always loved because now,

after Kate, maven of transgender queens, this thing would not work at all. It’s weird because I

was so interested in people being turned into symbols during the Prop 8 aftermath, and, now,

I’ve symbolized a whole group of them.

Avoiding queer studies until the bestie’s boyfriend took a course that made me read part of

Brokeback Mountain, which is still lodged in a crack somewhere under my bed.

Volunteering and having my supervisor put his hands on my shoulders for a minute. Him being

awkward and funny afterwards. Knowing it was to reassure me!

Bursting into tears after a trip to Target and watching Eat, Pray, Love with peanut butter cookies

on the couch with bestie………….not being able to sleep in bestie’s bed while she was binge

watching Netflix because the ceiling was too low and people would smell me while I slept.

Horror.

Crying differently now. Every time I cry, I cry out. Especially if no one is listening.

Being on Prozac for 3 years (meh, it’s okay) and Abilify for a year and 5 months. Feeling stable

but lethargic ever since going on Abilify and wondering if I’ll ever feel like running again when

not wild and off my meds, not on purpose, just because I forget to call and refill them. Back on

them, I make the symbol for flatlined when she questions me about my mood.

Being _fucking_weighed. And told to eat well. And to drink water. Something that hasn’t

happened since I was a little kid.

Having even the administrators assent to kicking me out. After a public revolt.

Remembering this when I get ready to Mental Health. “Do you want that to happen again?”

“Hell no.” Wipe wipe wipe.

Wishing that I could just be normal and not worry about smelling, like everyone else I know.

I know that everybody has trouble, but not everyone has to overwipe when they pee. Not

everyone is terrified of people who can hurt them with just a word.

Not trusting my body. My body that betrayed me in so many ways – by leaking, by just being

there while they denounced me and said, “Suck my dick,” with fury in their eyes. Riding my bike

is so hard now because I feel vulnerable. Like someone can just come at me and injure my

stomach. Even though nobody ever punched me there physically, I was assailed emotionally

and my stomach took the bulk of it.

A solid, cold brick in my stomach each time I think of that, exactly in the same spot where I hurt

after Kate called me out, and after the roommates ostracized me.

Making friends after coming home, to Stockton.

And now I cling to what I knew.

I knew exactly what was true, but oh no more.

~ Mumford and Sons, After the Storm

Having my brother give me a plush Cheshire Cat for Christmas and having him tell me, “He has

two different colors. He’s not a girl or a boy, but something in between.” Just_like_me.

Me calling about an anti-bullying program (because god, how I knew), and going with the bestie

and her boyfriend to a queer event that included the lady who won’t talk to me now. Feeling

chipper and making insinuating jokes like only the gays can.

Being elected PRESIDENT of my local support group for friends and families of queerfolk

(pflag.org, if you need it.)

Standing in a long line at DMV. “Hearing” people gossip about me, about how I smell. Having

the dilemma of whether to put in my headphones, and let people gossip all they want, or

keep them out and shut them up. Telling myself that the random conversations are not about

me, when someone says, “It’s warm outside, man,” that it’s not a secret coded message that

means, “that girl in front of me stinks.” Being able to stand there for 25 minutes, do what I need

to get done, but the unwillingness to go back and a need to bring along my mom or a friend next

time to protect me from the scary people.

Binge-listening to Mumford and Sons because they get it. Crying and remembering the pain,

feeling depressed for a day, but not suicidal like I had been before.

I rose and I rose, and I paid less time to your callous mind

and I wished you well as you cut me down.

~ Mumford and Sons, Holland Road

Well, I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better.

I originally called this tale Fuck You, Portland: A love letter, because that’s where I am right now.

I’m still mad at Portland – months ago I would have said “I’m mad at you” instead of “I’m mad at

Portland,” and addressed this to the city because it consumed my identity. That was still in my

fable time. The time when I pretended that everything was okay.

These days, it’s something that I went through. I’ll always have a relationship to the city but

I now realize that not all queer people are bad. I can’t say the same about Portlanders. But I

have met plenty of empathic folks in my hated real hometown of Stockton, California. I’ve also

met some apathetic fiends, but they’re in the minority. I want you to know that things change,

that those people who torment you forget, and that it does get better.

When you’re in the throes of “I’ve gotta kill myself, I’ve gotta kill myself, I’ve gotta kill myself”

reach out to people who care. If you don’t have anyone who cares, call therapists randomly and

tell them that you’re in an abusive relationship, that you’ve come home from a war (which can

take many forms), that you just can’t take it anymore. Cry. Tell them that you don’t have much

money and that you need someone to talk to. Someone will reach back. I did that, before I fled.

I found someone who took it that I was in an abusive relationship. A $20-buck promise to listen.

It took me a year to talk to anyone.

Another year to go outside.

My fable ends, “His heart was whole again, and he was their Prince.”

That’s wishful thinking. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a whole heart again, of if I ever had one in

the first place. What you can expect is that your heart will heal, but there will still be places,

when touched, that’ll make you cry.

I’m gonna close with more Mumford and Sons, because it just makes sense.

                   “There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears and love will not break your heart, but dismiss

                   your fears. Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your

                     hair.”

~ Mumford and Sons, After the Storm

Cane Enable Pt. 2

 Mother held the family together like masking tape on a bumper; it was just enough to keep it from falling apart.

When her, my father and I pulled up to the hospital we didn’t know what to expect, since this sort of thing doesn’t happen to every family and isn’t the “normal” family vacation together. Visiting the psych hospital for me should have been more like a homecoming as I had been in one before, but those places have a way of scaring the shit out of you, and when I walked in that is all I felt…and sick.

At the time I didn’t realize how much my sister needed me, and how lost I was with no ability to care about anything or anyone outside of myself.

Nothing mattered but heroin. I kept picturing it. My thoughts were stuck on the scary go round and heroin was this huge magnet the size of a ferris wheel attracting everything in my life towards it. As my family reunited and we sat in the hospital room with my sister on the hospital bed wearing the hospital gowns, I sat there and tried to care I really did because part of me was good and part of me loved and part of me was still human…but only a small part…not enough to manifest in my life and maybe perhaps change the way I was acting…which was an a total loser scumbag!

The family had already been through hell and back again with the son. Now the daughter was in the psych unit of a hospital where they all now sat together trying to find some sort of solace or “normal” or anything that resembled life before this…thing…happened.

There are no words that exist in our limited vocabulary called English that have the power to take away the elephant in the room, that big fucker has to just leave on his own or else just be ignored. Sometimes the truth is just too painful to talk about straight up, and it was real and ugly and uninviting and very uncomfortable…so why sit and worry about it?

That is what the family did: they ignored the truth and moved on as best as they could. The daughter who was still loopy off the medication talked as if nothing happened or if it did, then it wasn’t a big deal and we should stop talking about it. The father tried the hardest to try and figure everything out, and the mother eventually came to the rescue and kept it cordial. All the while the son held everything in and didn’t say much, only enough to play his part as the son…wishing he was back in the city with his new friends who were so nice.

They even showed him how to use a needle! Now he could get that rush and get high on his own, he wouldn’t need anyone to do it for him, now he was a real junkie.

If it wasn’t for the elephant in the room, every member of that family would be looking at him and wondering what the hell is going on? Why are you so restless and irritable and why are you sweating so much? They would have questioned the lies until the truth broke free. But today was not focus on the fuck up day, it was focus on the one who had it all together and never had any problems.

This was new territory for the son and brother they all loved dearly, the attention on his sister was almost like taking away a security blanket from a child. It was all he had to exist as a participating member of the family, this fucked up sense of belonging by acting out and being reckless, getting into trouble, and needing to be bailed out of every jam. Perhaps that was it, the reason for his behavior, was the need for attention and care as a way to make sure his family loved him. Because love wasn’t invented yet inside his soul, and no amount of attention and care can ever reach someone who does not have love in their hearts.

The father got a hotel room near the hospital so the family could visit the daughter in the hospital. The son had to return to the city by the next day in order to follow the rules of the sober house. He didn’t want to go back to that house again. The guys in that place were so…negative. He wished he could talk to his parents about all of this. But why mess up a good thing?

Before the son got on the flight to go back up north, the father pulled him aside to talk with him. He tried to reach him and bring the son back to some sort of center, but the son wasn’t even listening it was too late. The father realized this as he started to repeat himself. He had been where his son was, but he didn’t say that and didn’t know why. Maybe he was scared of saying the wrong thing, or worried if he said that then it would change things for the worse…either way, it came down to the love he had for his son.

He handed his junkie son 2o0 dollars that was needed for rent. He watched him get in line at the security check and walk through the metal detectors and disappear.

The father wouldn’t see or hear from his son until months later after he turned up in a facility that helped troubled youth who were homeless on the streets of the city.

I got on the plane and for a few hours I felt strong. I recalled what my father had said and thought to myself: “I can do this! I got it. I don’t have to get high when I get off this plane. I am stronger than that!” I was a scared little boy in the dark whistling to make myself to feel better. Lost, and now I was alone with 200 dollars and a decision to make that was not mine to make. It was already made for me the second a needle was stuck into my left arm vein by a junkie on the street, and I was a slave. Slave’s don’t have a choice.

Slaves obey.

I held off the demons and the evil the whole flight with affirmations and good ideas about what I would do with my life and how I would change. It all sounded so good. But on the train I heard the next stop coming up was the one that would take away all the feelings of sickness, illness, and hurt. I imagined that rush, that sweet succulent sexiness that would wash over my body and let me float away into happy oblivion…

Door opened. The junkie ran out and up the steps to the bustling street with the smells of the food sewer and human waste all mixing a powerful concoction for the senses.

Another lost child disappeared in the crowd.

 

With All Sails Set

God intended us to have dominion over our lives, to be the captains of our souls.

Of course, in the ship of life, you cannot make port unless all sails are set. You must pursue the spiritual life wholeheartedly. You cannot expect to reach port if you are faithful in your prayers and meditations for a time, and then for a time you forget God.

You are the captain of your soul when you can say with Jesus:

I and my Father are one…the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works…

Love is Truth

Cane Enable Pt. 1

Love is God God is love love is God God is love

If it weren’t for the love and support of parents, many of us would be dead. After so many attempts to live free from insanity and so many failures, it is amazing how some parents can put up with their child’s fall into oblivion and all the pain, heartache, and suffering that comes along with loving an addict, an alcoholic, or someone with a mental disease that no one understands. Why do they parents enable their children by giving them money and shelter when they know it is all for nothing because their child is in the control of demons that use needles, spoons, crack pipes, lighters, and poisonous powders that slowly kill the son or daughter they used to know…

Why?

Why does anyone who has a loved one go to such drastic lengths that drain their pocket book, their sanity, their peaceful sleep? Because the fear of losing their loved one completely to the darkness is so great, and the fear of standing by and watching the person they love slowly commit suicide and doing nothing is too much, and to live with the regret that they didn’t try their best to help bring them home…they would rather die.

“Where is she? A hospital? How did she end up there?”

A million questions circled the 19 year old’s head as he held the phone talking to his mother who was on her way with dad to pick him up.

“She is in a psych ward Joey. I don’t know what is going on with her, she was fine a week ago! Apparently she was driving around without sleep for days and totally gone.”

John didn’t know how to respond to fact that his sister, his one and only sibling who was attending college in Maryland and about to graduate, was in an insane asylum. John didn’t know how to respond to anything, so it wasn’t a big deal, he shrugged it off like one who was used to brushing off bad decisions and life challenges as if they were pesky flies.

“So what’s gonna happen?”

His mother told him he had better be ready to go in an hour then hung up the phone.

John stood on the deck of a house that he shared with 14 other drug addicts, alcoholics, and other really great guys. It was called a sober house. Ever since he got arrested last year he has been forced to live in these places that were like boarding houses with rules. The rules were no using drugs or drinking. There was weekly piss tests, where a stranger would come in and collect each individuals urine by watching them pee in a cup. If you failed the urine screen you were kicked out. The money that was involved was sickening, the lives that were thrown out onto the street were precious, and the consequences of that was very real.

Something even more real was the habit that John had found to be very hard to break. It started in another sober house before this sober house. This one was not even close to sober. The first day after being dropped off by his parents, who drove 6 hours just to pick him up at a rehab and drop him off at strange house in the middle of no where, John met his roommate Carlos…and heroin.

With no self-esteem, no confidence in ever succeeding in life, and no care at all to the consequences of this drug to his life and body, John didn’t think twice and took the line of brown powder offered to him so kindly by this huge Puerto Rican guy, his new friend. John remembered the effects of euphoria and the rush that hit his mind body and soul like a tidal wave of pleasure. He laid down on his busted mattress in the dirty room of a broken down house, and John might as well have been in the Taj Mahal. It didn’t matter, the chemicals in the brain made John feel like a god.

John knew he had met his match. John knew he would have a problem with this drug. John knew…and accepted the fact that his life was now in the control of heroin and the fact that he would do anything to get this drug again.

Two weeks and many more lines of heroin later John moved to another city into another sober house. This one was even better than the last, because this sober house was different. Instead of having to go outside to get heroin, all you had to do was go downstairs and boom! Spanish speaking flaco who, in order to get a lesser sentence and get out of prison quicker, told the judge he was an addict and needed treatment. Basically, he had all of his customers living in the same house…much like a professional crack house. Judges and probation officers sent people there to get better and maybe stay out of trouble. They didn’t know that trouble lived and thrived in these places.

It had been a week of heavy inhaling of heroin and John had a screamer of a habit, but he didn’t even know it since John had never done heroin before and therefor never had to come off of it. He had heard stories of friends in high school who were hooked, he saw Basketball Diaries and saw how bad Leonardo DiCaprio detoxed from it, but to John he was invincible and it couldn’t happen to him.

He went up to his room on the third floor and packed a change of clothes into his back pack. He lived in a tiny room that he shared with another man. This man was huge, a body builder and a psycho. John knew him from a rehab in Connecticut they both went through. The man had gotten kicked out for having sex with a female in the laundry room. That was the rule: no fraternizing, and he broke it. Now John had the pleasure of sharing a small room with him in a run down city far away from home. They didn’t talk much.

John saw his parents coming down the street and ran out to meet them. He got in the car, and one look at this mother and father gave him the worst feeling of guilt and shame and fear…and the lies only made it worse.

It took four hours to get to the hospital which was in another state. The drive was mostly quiet with spurts of words from everyone trying to kill the silence that screamed like an unwanted child in an abandoned home, leaving everyone in the most delightful of moods.

John began to feel sick to his stomach and couldn’t stop itching. Slowly his temperature began to rise and he started to sweat. His father noticed this and asked John if he was alright, and if he was getting sick.

“I guess so, I feel like shit…this is horrible. I can’t believe she is in the hospital, I hope she is okay.”

What killed him was that he felt nothing, it was like he was a ghost and all alone and no one noticed him, like he was in another plane of existence and was doomed to spend eternity floating in this space of nothingness…with only the loneliness to keep him company. The sad truth was that John could care less about his sister, the one person on earth that was closest to him, and he just didn’t care. All he wanted was to shift attention away from him and onto her.

“Her coach said she had all sorts of random stuff packed into her car. Like she went crazy and snapped. I just don’t know what to think anymore John.” His father said, ” With all the stuff that has gone on with you, your mother and I haven’t even had time to worry about Kelsey. I am spent, all used up. Dealing with your addiction has nearly killed us. This is too much. Kelsey never had problems. I just pray everything is okay.”

John would have rather been taken by the collar and thrown out of the van going 80 MPH than hear what his father just said to him. What made it worse was the look on his father’s face in the rear view mirror. It was like he knew what was going on, but didn’t directly say it out loud.

Did he know that his son was hooked on heroin and his daughter locked in a psych ward for going manic?

The Truth Behind the Scenes

 A Free verse poem by Anonymous Love

It started in April,

Snickering behind my back.

The whispers grew louder.

I questioned why, this doesn’t make sense!

I received a quizzical look

As if they didn’t know.

Soon I was being called by a different name

Apparently the name of a model.

Although I was flattered for the compliment

I didn’t wish to let a fan of the model down

I’m not someone to pretend to be someone else

So I did the right thing

I told the truth:

Simply that I wasn’t her.

Yet they looked at my face

Not believing a word I said.

So I tried my hand at the search for this person

I charged through the internet

I wanted to see how much the person looked like me

Scared of their reaction when they found it wasn’t me

But I was determined to find the person

Yet every picture I threw at them wasn’t it

I wondered why they didn’t show me the picture

Or give me more than a first name

It was as if I were tagged in a game

And I didn’t know the rules to tag the person they were looking for

Now I’ve waited too long

The tag is permanent.

I kept trying to explain to the fans

Then in June something strange happened

I started hearing voices inside my head

No, I don’t mean that voice

I mean friends,family, even sometime animals

Asking me questions.

Making me sick.

I could feel people touching me

I told it to go away,

I yelled at it

Then I started seeing ghosts

A couple of them I’ve never met

Then it felt like my body was being controlled by someone else,

I couldn’t turn the lights off at night.

In September I remember looking at those deep watery waves

One voice helped turn me away

It sounded like someone I knew who passed away

But no one was there.

A couple of vehicles.

Someone had whispered in my ear.

I had sat there that night

Listening to the loudest thunder

I needed help…badly

Who do I turn to?

First, I went to friends,

Maybe they didn’t believe me…

I wasn’t sure

November and December had come out of nowhere

The voices in my head were still going.

And the rumor had gotten worse.

They now believed the model was under my name

I guess they hadn’t found whoever it was either.

I wasn’t getting hours for money to pay bills.

Maybe they thought since she’s the model

She doesn’t need a job.

I thought ‘well then why would I have been there in the first place!’

Either way I needed out.

I found a new job,

I had fresh hope.

No, more like false hope.

Same thing happened

Although less teasing.

No hours equaling no money coming in

They said the reason was there was no hours to give.

Not how I felt: am I just paranoid?

Or is what I’m feeling telling me something.

Again I’m trying to search for another job to pay the bills.

Now  my parents are going through a divorce

Now I owe even more money.

Its almost mid February.

But it hasn’t been all bad,

There were good things…

I had a guy, but we ended it wrong.

I also have a nice car,but it needs to be payed for

Or sold.

I found I wanted to study animals,

I got back to something I love: bowling.

Made an appointment with a therapist, Only it’s not until March.

A new guy, thank you Cupid!

A couple more friends,

Those friends are a part of different groups

That’s awesome they have they’re own thing

And I’ve got mine.

Maybe the groups didn’t see that.

They wanted me to join.

And they are all against each other, why?

Something I want answered.

Why do these different groups care about my personal business?

Religion? Culture? Dreams? Relationships?

Why are they asking me those four questions?

It’s not their business, in my opinion.

It kept rolling over in my brain

I found the key

Believe in what you want,

move towards your dreams,

you can’t change your heritage,

and people come and go

They aren’t separate,they connect to make you who you are.

I let it all go.

Now life is coming back to me…

Slowly…

But it’s here.

A Day of Addiction

By Scotty Robotty

Start out every morning thinking today will be the day

Only to quickly realize my illness is at play

Taking hold of my body never letting me get ahead

It brings me to my knees wishing I were dead

I go out in hope of finding some kind of cure

With each passing moment it becomes more unsure

Committing terrible acts that seem to make no sense

Just want to kill the pain before it’s too intense

Convince myself in believing trying with all my might

Once I find the antidote everything will be alright

People all around me have no idea of the pain I’m going through

All they see is a waste of life from someone they once knew

I complete the day scoring my fix ending all my sorrow

Able to now rest my head and do it over again tomorrow.

-Paul S.

Taken from The Voice Inside

Poetry by Incarcerated Humans

Psych Ward Saints Pt. 3

I don’t know how or why this young kid named Dennis became my best friend but he did. He was a couple years younger than I was, perhaps 14 or 15 years old, but I could tell he was definitely stronger than I was. Something in the way he walked. When he moved he had a swagger to his step that suggested a boxer or fighter, and the look on his face added to his bravado. He was always smiling, and he never hesitated to laugh even when no one said anything funny.

Only a few hours into my new home which was Brattleboro Retreat, an old mental hospital, and I was scared to death. After the strip search I got dressed and made my way to the front desk. I was a lost sheep, cattle, wandering around until someone shepherded me into a pen. The lady behind the glass wall asked if I was allergic to any medications, I told her no, and she wrote something down on a clipboard. I looked around the new surroundings. The ward was two hall ways perpendicular to one another. The main hallway with the patient rooms stood in full view of the glass bunker. The adjacent hallway ran to the bathrooms one way and the group room the other. That is where I first saw him.

He saw me first, and when I looked over into the group room he quickly moved out of site behind the door. I chuckled to myself, and wondered who this character was that would act so silly in such a serious place. I pretended not to play along and turned around. I waited a few seconds and whipped my head around toward the door. I jumped back a few feet when I saw him right in front of me! My heart raced and at first I was afraid he would attack me or do something crazy, but he let out this laugh that was kinda creepy but genuine. I put down my guard and laughed with him. He stopped laughing abruptly. I did the same.

“My name’s Dennis.” He said, his voice much older than his age.

“My name is John, nice to meet you Dennis!” I held out my hand. Dennis looked over at the lady behind the glass. She was staring at both of us.

“No physical contact is allowed between patients!” She said in almost perfect robot.

I put my hand down and smiled at him, and he smiled back. From that moment on he didn’t leave my side. Wherever I was, he was right next to me and walked around like he was my bodyguard. Anybody who said or tried to do anything would be threatened and ran off by this 15 year old monster of a beautiful soul named Dennis.

Everyone had a different story for being in the psych ward. Every one of the “patients” had a series of events that led them to be locked down and sedated. There was no happiness. There was no peace. There was no freedom. Only moments of relief and forgetting brought on by the patients themselves, the only hope they had was each other, and they stuck by one another obeying an invisible code of honor that they followed without even realizing it.

Dennis had been institutionalized for most of his life. He tried public school and living at foster homes but he kept getting in fights. The way he looked made him an easy target. He was born that way, and he was okay, but society is cruel and kids are even worse. So he had to fight back and he had to protect himself. The only place for this poor kid was a psych ward. He wasn’t the only one. But something about him told me he was special, told me he was different in a way that nobody could understand nor wanted to understand therefor…lock him up and medicate him.

“Hey John…Hey John…Hey John…Look! John! Look!”

If I didn’t look he would keep doing that until I looked, so finally looked over at him sitting on the couch next to me.

His face was contorted, and his hands were spreading his eyes and lips to make him look like an alien or some sort of silly monster…he must have done this 100 times, and it never failed to make me laugh.

Looking back I see that Dennis was not a “retard”, not a “mental patient”, but an angel sent to Earth to help souls like mine get through hard times.

Dennis was a Psych Ward Saint.

Psych Ward Saints Pt. 2

We pulled up to an old iron gate that looked like it belonged in a creepy cemetery somewhere. Dead vines wrapped around the rusted black paint that read: “Brattleboro Retreat”. The feeling in the car was mutual: fear. My parents must have been scared to let their golden boy child be handed over to this foreboding and freaky place. I was the one who had to go into this “retreat”. We all knew what it truly was, and it was not called a retreat. It was called loony bin for a reason. Only crazy, psycho, lost, failures belonged here. The message was loud and clear. I was one of them.

Still no talking. Silence hung in the air like a noose. What is there to talk about when a child is getting dropped off by the parents at a psych ward?

We walked in and sat in the waiting room. The building was really old and it smelled funny. After a while a lady came in gave us paperwork to fill out. She explained the process of admission and what I was allowed to have with me in my possession. No razors, no scissors, no sharp objects of any kind, no cosmetics containing alcohol. My parents asked a dozen questions about safety and how long I would be there, and the lady answered them like a robot, she must have been doing this work for a long time. She said the units are locked down, that meant there is no getting in or out. She also said that the unit I was going into was the young adult ward, where there was not that much violence and was safer than the other units. I remember my parents looking at each other, then looking at me, trying to decide what to do. Do they say no thanks and pick me up and carry me away back home to safety? Or do they hug me goodbye and drive away in tears? I never saw them cry, I never knew they cared so much, all I saw was my own self and that is all I cared about.

At that moment, for the first time in my life, I was left alone away from home in a foreign place with no one around to save me or get me out of this one.

An orderly came down to the waiting room in a white suit and carried my stuff off, and ushered me to follow him to Unit 4. I obeyed. We went up this old, creaking, slow elevator to the 4th floor. Ahead of us was a lime green door that looked C4 proof. Nobody was escaping through that door. He flashed pulled out a big roll of keys and picked one out, inserted it into the keyhole, and with a huge click the door opened. We passed a number of doors on both sides of the linoleum hallway. I peered in and saw kids younger than me sitting at their desks or lying in bed. I was careful not to look for too long, because I knew I would be in trouble if I did. I knew enough not to EVER look a crazy person in the eyes, or else suffer the consequences. I didn’t know what the consequences were but somehow I knew they wouldn’t be good.

The orderly dropped my bag off at the front desk that was situated behind a big glass shield. He spoke into the metal voice box to someone behind the wall of protection and gave her my name. She looked at a clipboard and nodded her head. She looked at me and instructed me to sit over by that chair until they were ready to take me in. I thought I was already in. Apparently not. The orderly disappeared and for a moment I was alone in the hallway. I listened to hear anything strange, anything wrong, anything bad happening like screams or shouts or fights or voices that were crazy…nothing. It was dead quiet. As I was peering into what looked like a group room with chairs all around it the orderly reappeared out of no where and told me to follow him to the bathroom. I would need to be strip searched to make sure I was not carrying any contraband.

I was brought into a big tiled room with a drain, a huge showerhead above us, and nothing else. He told me to take off my clothes one article at a time and hand it over to him. I was a little shaky at this point and slowly starting taking off my clothes. When I got down to my underwear I felt so vulnerable, so naked and afraid. There is a distinct feeling one gets at this point where you are naked in front of another person. It feels like they can see everything you have ever done, and are judging you. I gave him my boxers and stood there with my arms crossed, trying to hide but there was no place for that, only the bright light reflecting off the white tile and this guy who was sifting through my clothes looking for something I was potentially smuggling in. He looked at me and instructed me by showing me with his hands what I was to do. Raise my arms, run my fingers through my hair, open my mouth, pull down the lips, stick out the tongue, bend over, cough…louder…louder…

Okay. Get dressed. The orderly left the room. I picked up my clothes off the floor and slowly put my clothes back on, wondering what my life had become.